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LeBron James partners with Lyft to open bikeshare access to teens across US

Initiative from NBA star aims to provide disadvantaged youngsters with freedom and opportunities

Basketball star LeBron James has launched a partnership with ridesharing business Lyft to provide access to bike-sharing schemes to youngsters across the United States.

The initiative was launched this week at the Harlem YMCA, where James made a surprise appearance in front of an audience of young people.

The LA Lakers forward, in the city for his team’s match against the New York Knicks (James scored 21 points in a 100-92 win), has often spoken of how having a bike when he was younger proved to be life-changing for him.

Likewise, the partnership between his Uninterrupted athlete empowerment brand,and Lyft aims to create opportunities for people aged 16-20 by providing them with transport of their own.

The scheme which will be rolled out this spring to New York City's Citi Bike scheme and then to Chicago's Divvy Bikes and Bay Wheels in the San Francisco Bay area, will provide free, one-year bikeshare memberships on Lyft-operated systems, distributed via the YMCA to youngsters who meet the eligibility criteria.

“Growing up, a bike changed everything for me,”  said James, who also narrates the above video. “It was more than a way to go see my friends or play basketball – it was a way of life.

“A bike opened doors, allowed me to get to safe places after school, and gave me access to opportunities I never would have known.

“I’m proud that Uninterrupted can join Lyft in bringing that access to kids and people in communities across the country.”

As Lyft points out, bikes can give young people freedom and opportunity, whether that be getting to school, work, or leisure activities.

The company’s co-founder and president, John Zimmer, said: “With LeBron as our inspiration, we want to demonstrate how transportation can be a spark that helps young people reach their full potential. The future of transportation is exciting, and we feel a deep responsibility to help make transportation accessible to all.”

The initiative forms part of the new LyftUp scheme, which aims to tackle transport poverty and enable people in need to gain access to healthy food, attend job interviews, go to vote and obtain assistance following natural disasters, among other things.

Lyft also provides discounted membership of bike-sharing programmes in all of the cities where it operates, aimed at low-income residents enrolled in or qualifying for federal assistance programmes.

It’s not the first time we have featured James on road.cc – in 2018, we reported how he had pledged a free bike for every student at a school for at-risk children he had set up in his home city of Akron, Ohio.

He said at the time: “I know these kids basically more than they know themselves.

“I walked the same streets. I rode the same bikes on the streets that they ride on. I went through the same emotions. The good, the bad, the adversity.

“Everything these kids are going through, the drugs, the violence, the guns, everything they’re going through as kids, I know.”

He said at the time: “I know these kids basically more than they know themselves.

“I walked the same streets. I rode the same bikes on the streets that they ride on. I went through the same emotions. The good, the bad, the adversity.

“Everything these kids are going through, the drugs, the violence, the guns, everything they’re going through as kids, I know.”

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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